When the Denver Broncos decided to pass on a quarterback or a trade back, which were two moves most experts and pundits believed John Elway would make, he earned some respectful remarks from anonymous executives in a recent ESPN piece on the 2018 NFL Draft.
The first noted how hard it is to find premier pass rushers in the NFL and how Denver now has four very good ones on its roster. To be that wealthy at a position, many teams are struggling to address even one capable player and it is just filthy.
”Look at how hard it can be to find pass-rushers,” one exec said. “Tampa Bay just gave a third-rounder for a 29-year-old JPP [Jason Pierre-Paul] and was willing to pay his contract. Denver has three legit starting rushers plus Shaq Barrett, who every team in the league would love to have as part of their four-man rotation. And the great thing about Chubb is he can slide inside to defensive tackle like Michael Bennett on third down, giving you flexibility.”
Then there is the quarterback position. Case Keenum is the Broncos quarterback now, but the Broncos sure spent a lot of time on all of the top quarterbacks in this year’s draft class. Ultimately, the best prospects in their mind went No 1. and No. 3 overall, and reaching for a quarterback prospect they felt wasn’t worthy of the fifth overall pick was not an option Elway was willing to pursue.
”I love seeing [John] Elway basically say, ‘F—- trying to beat the odds and pick the one out of 10 quarterbacks that is going to be over .500 four years from now,’” an exec said. “The bigger part of that is they did not pay $84 million for the guy that is under .500 [Kirk Cousins]. The final part is I’d like to see them switch the defense to a 4-3 because you just got a 4-3 rusher [Chubb] who I think is as good as [Joey] Bosa.”
Elway is probably one of the few executives in the NFL who understands that if you don’t have a quarterback or can’t find a one, the best alternative is to get enough great players on defense who can sack the quarterback.
He’s done that by getting enough pass rushers to terrorize opposing quarterbacks every minute of every game.
Bradley Chubb is definitely a player with a unique skillset. His size is impressive for a man who can move as he can. Despite weighing 25 pounds more than Shane Ray coming out of college, he actually matched or beat Ray in every NFL Combine measurement.
40-yard: 4.65 to 4.65
Vertical: 33.5 to 36.0
Broad: 10ft to 10ft 1in
20 yd shuttle: 4.53 to 4.41
Bench: 21 to 24
His athleticism is clearly superior, which means he should slide right into the starting role Day 1. The good news is that both Ray and Shaquil Barrett performed very well in their reserve capacities in 2015. The rotation that year was incredible and, hopefully, we can see more of that in 2018.